Posted by: victanguera | July 8, 2010

Writing Prompt #213

When I wrote my first novel, I had a premise in mind. I forgot it about three pages in, and my novel drifted off into silliness, but that question gave me a starting point. I’m contemplating the next story. I’ve got and intriguing characters and setting in mind, but haven’t a clue what the story question might be.

Every good story has a question. Think of it as the blurb on the back of the book. So for today’s prompt, think about what that question might be.



  1. I read somewhere that Terry Pratchett figured after one has done 10K, you should be able to write the back cover blurb of your novel. I know I tend to do those before writing a nano, but seldom for other stuff. Huh. May have to try one for Boy and Fox sometime today.

    • Yeah, I still don’t think I could write the back cover blurb for the Tavi story. From writer’s group, I’m thinking that you pretty much know the story question for Boy and Fox, but it would be interesting to see it spelled out.

      • The problem would be not giving the actual story away. I came up with this today, but I think it’s a bit of pretentious twattle and not as engaging as a blurb should be.

        “This is a story about maps, and what happens when you fall off of them. About how you lose your self to find it, the thin line between a blessing and a curse, and – like all stories ever told – about family. It’s a story about dreams, what can come to pass if we lose them, and the prices we pay to make them come true.

        Once upon a time, perhaps tomorrow or maybe yesterday but not that long ago, a boy found his way out of the Wasting at the end (or, some said, the heart) of the spirit world, so far from the real world that the sky was devoid of even moon or sun. His name had been lost, and even the name of the person he had entered the spirit world to find, but the boy was determined to find his quest and the questions he had come seeking answers for.

        There is a also a fox, because every real story has a fox in it. ”

        But yeah, I do know the question. Even if the actual plot is less certain 🙂

      • It is interesting to consider how much of the story question we can pose without giving away too much.

        I like your write up for Boy.

    • One interesting example, to me, is Eddings’ Belgariad series. the first issue covers had a very different background blurbs.

      1982: “Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil god Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.
      But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know …?
      For a while, his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while .. ”

      Now: “It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower—and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.”

      The latter gives a LOT more away.

  2. Yeah, it does. I’d be more inclined to read the book based on the first blurb than the second, though. It sounds more personal.

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